PRESS RELEASE: Harry Potter actress and The Real Marigold Hotel star, Miriam Margolyes is returning to Malton this year for the second time to headline at the Christmas Dickensian Festival.
BAFTA winning Miriam Margolyes, whose one-woman show Dickens’ Women was nominated for an Olivier award, will perform on 17th December at The Milton Rooms. Tickets are on sale now from the Milton Rooms Box Office, £14 each. Call 01653 696 240 to book.
Miriam Margolyes who achieved a standing ovation last year said: “I am delighted to support the Festival for the second year in a row. I fell in love with Dickens at school and would like to appeal to children, young people and adults alike to come and enjoy the spirit of A Christmas Carol. Dickens is the best. Once you’re hooked by his words, his books will enrich you over a lifetime. It’s going to be enormous fun.”
Miriam said of last year’s festival, “The Malton Dickensian Festival last year was glorious. It’s a beautiful town. Our show sold out very quickly, so book your tickets early!’ I want Malton to realise they have a double jewel – their town AND THE CHRISTMAS CAROL. Don’t keep it a secret!”
Joining Miriam will be one of the World’s leading Dickens scholars, Professor John Bowen from York University, who will be giving a talk called ‘Dickens Magic’. Minced pies and mulled wine will be available in the interval. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions at the end of the show.
Lucinda Hawksley, accomplished speaker, author and descendent of the celebrated Charles Dickens will host a festive lunch at the Talbot Hotel on 18th December. Guests will be welcomed with a glass of Smoking Bishop – the original mulled wine recipe used by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol. Lucinda who describes Malton as the ‘perfect setting’ is Dickens’ great, great, great granddaughter. Lucinda will talk about her celebrated ancestor, read extracts from Dickens’ books, sign copies of her latest book Charles Dickens and his Circle and answer questions. Tickets for the lunch are available from the Talbot, priced £25, call 01653 639096 to book.
The celebration of Charles Dickens’ legacy in Malton has been organized by the Malton Dickensian Festival volunteer team, who raised funds to ‘bring home’ a rare, signed copy of A Christmas Carol in 2012 from a New York collector.
The book, the team believe adds weight to the claim he based Scrooge’s Counting House on his friend Charles Smithson’s office in Chancery Lane. Smithson was a young lawyer in Malton and Dickens was godfather to Smithson’s daughter Mary. When Smithson died tragically young, aged 39, Dickens travelled to the funeral in Malton and sent on the inscribed copy of A Christmas Carol to his pregnant widow, Elizabeth. Dickens’ brother Alfred, also lived in Malton.
Broadcaster Selina Scott lead the crusade to return the iconic book to the Yorkshire market town said: “We are delighted Miriam Margolyes one of the finest actors of her generation was so entranced with Malton and is returning again this year. The spirit of Dickens truly permeates the place. We are expecting people to came from all over the UK to our little town to celebrate A Christmas Carol.”
Clair Challenor-Chadwick, MD of Cause UK and Festival organiser said, “We’ve helped put Malton on the map for this remarkable literary legacy. The story has gone far and wide and featured on BBC’s The One Show, ITN News, and Songs of Praise. It is such a remarkable legacy and one that captures the imagination. We hope this year’s festival will continue to ignite tourism and engage new audiences in Dickens’ work.”
The rare edition of A Christmas Carol will be on display at The Talbot hotel throughout the festival.
On 10th December, in the guise of a mutinous down-and-out Victorian travelling theatre, Penny Plain Theatre will perform their fast moving Christmas miscellany of old carols, mummery, and dance bringing the spirit of a real Victorian Christmas to Malton. In keeping with the Malton Food Lovers, look out too for their hilarious ‘Human Vegetable Machine’ – the forerunner of the fruit machine, which never fails to get bystanders laughing.
The Charles Dickens Society of Malton will deliver regular performances in venues throughout the town and welcome visitors to the Scrooge’s Counting House Museum. They will also be hosting Dickensian walking tours and treasure hunts. ‘A Christmas Carol’ merchandise will be on sale for Christmas shoppers. Dickensian foodie events will also be taking place at the Malton Cookery School.
The Storey Family Charitable Trust, Malton CIC, The Talbot Hotel, volunteers of the Charles Dickens Society, the Norton Area Partnership and the Malton and Norton Town Councils are all valued supporters of the festival.